Gay marriage delayed but not defeated

The Rudd government’s decision to block the ACT government’s civil union plans continued to attract criticism this morning, but also a religious defence.

The Australian Election Survey 2007, conducted after last November’s election, provides some further polling evidence on where the public stands on this issue. In a question about whether same-sex marriage should be recognised by law, the public is now evenly divided, with 43.6% in favour and 43.2% against. That’s less than the June 2007 figure of 57% in favour in a GetUp! Galaxy poll, but I thought at the time that this number was suspiciously high and probably due to it being asked directly after a question on various other forms of discrimination against gays. However the AES result is above the 35% in favour in the 2005 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes.

The three polls all had different question wording, but there are some consistent patterns of opinion. Men and women are mirror images on this issue; 34% of men are in favour of same-sex marriage and 53% against, while 52% of women are in favour and 35% against. I can’t immediately think of any other issue on which male and female opinion is so different.
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